Here’s the drill:
20 minutes. Fresh, free fiction (of the imaginative variety), based on a few preset parameters.
Every Tuesday, I’ll spin you a quick tale and give you something to think about. Call it a writing drill, an exercise in imagination. I spend nearly a year to get a book together, so what better than an opportunity to have something finished by the time I click “save”. Now I like that, and hopefully, so will you.
How far can you push POV? What is POV, for that matter? When we write stories, or when we read them, we enter in by getting a hold of something, be it a character or a fly on the wall. But what about the room itself? What about something abstract? Does a story have to be told through a person to be relatable? Let’s see…
The sidebar clattered every time a servant set the fat, silver goblet on it. Slowly, a red stain expanded across the wall. A mouse started to chew a hole through the plaster, but every time the fat man shouted, other men appeared with knives and the wall grew redder. One night, when the world shook and boomed, and light flashed in through the narrow panes of glass, the servant spilled the goblet on his way to serve the fat man, and his head went through the wall shortly afterward. The fat man shouted, and as soon as the sun shone bright, three short carpenter women boarded up the twin windows, then replaced the wall with bricks. “Leave an alcove. I may need to escape!” the man shouted from his bed, and so they did. They hung a tapestry over it; every time his men appeared with their knives, they piled the dead in the room. One night, the world shook again, a thousand pattering little feet stamped overhead, and three men came through the alcove. Puddles trailed them, sinking between the stones, but they crept quietly. The fat man screamed, but none of his men came.
Twenty spiders came and spun their webs. Big fat flies with shiny green bodies laid their eggs. The fat man’s leg stuck out from the bottom of the tapestry. No one came into the room. Other things came in, though. Vines broke through the stone, a clan of ferns grew between the floor’s cracks; an oak sapling reared it’s head, then spread upward, pushing eager fingers through the ceiling. The ground was white, then it was green, then brown. One time, when it was scattered with a bed of russet leaves, a stone fell from the ceiling and crushed a pile of skulls. A weasel ran for cover, and a raven watched from the branches overhead.
Dirt piled up in the alcove, and more stones fell as the oak forced the ceiling apart. Finally, one sunny morning, a young girl and an older woman came into the room. The girl looked up at the oak, then at the brick wall – what remained of it. She looked confused when she came and stood at the pile of dirt where the bones once had been. “Mother, what was this place?”
The older woman put a hand on each one of her shoulders, steering her away from the wall, looking at it with suspicion. “A place that should be forgotten. Come, we have a long way to go before sunset. There is little time to be troubled by places that exist no more.”
Want to read more by Graeme? Be sure to check out The Pact, coming this June.